The Moscow Times, 10/27/2022
Commercial satellites used by the United States to assist Ukraine in its war against Russia are “legitimate” targets for attacks, a Russian diplomat said Wednesday.
Private assets like Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet constellation, as well as Maxar and Planet Labs earth observation satellites, have proven critical in keeping Ukrainians online and piercing the fog of war…
“Quasi-civilian infrastructure could be a legitimate target for retaliation,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted Vorontsov as saying… Last November, the Russian military tested an anti-satellite weapon in outer space, which the U.S. condemned as a “dangerous and irresponsible” space missile strike…[end quote]
Communications and information have been vital in war since the beginning of time. The satellites that provide intelligence about Russian troop movements and free internet to Ukraine (from Starlink) are assets that the Ukrainians put to excellent effect but could never afford themselves.
Konstantin Vorontsov is the deputy chief of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s arms control and nonproliferation department. It’s his job to try to maintain the peaceful use of space but warn that pressure is growing to attack commercial satellites.
Elon Musk is playing in a pretty big sandbox when he spits in Putin’s eye.
I wonder how the U.S. Space Force would respond if a commercial satellite was attacked as a war participant? The Space Force is organized under the aegis of the Air Force the same way that the Marines are organized under the aegis of the Navy. Their mission statement includes the words “fight” and “military” so they are definitely not there for observation like NASA.